Travel photography is another passion of mine. 28th of September happens to be my husband’s birthday and we always like to travel on this day – the weather is usually still nice and warm in Europe, and we can both enjoy a little voyage to clear our thoughts and just walk more, explore and taste new things. New trip is always a new perspective. This year we chose to go to Champagne region in France which is about 3,5 hour drive from where we live in Luxembourg. Unlike the previous years, it was a foggy and misty day and we could already feel autumn in the air – the chilly morning, the smell of fallen and wet from the rain leaves on the ground, beautiful mosaic ornament that adds colourful accents to muted rusty trees and grey sky. If autumn symbolises getting older it also gives us hope to age gracefully and with dignity.
It was really cozy in the car and the drive was very enjoyable – passing little scenic roads, listening to favourite songs and just feeling that the whole adventure is still ahead of us. We knew we were close to destination when we saw this sign:
I had no idea before this trip that there’s the whole beautiful route created for tourists who visit Champagne by car and that it passes through the most beautiful little villages where small local produces make their unique champagne, and leads to the city of Epernay, the vineyard capital of the region (the actual region capital is Reims but most major champagne houses are located around Epernay).
We went straight to the city as I was dying to walk the Avenue de Champagne! It was very quiet, even empty, despite the fact that it was Saturday. It made us feel very welcome somehow as the whole city belonged to us as we were wondering its streets freely.
I really love how France is the queen of effortless chic and it shows in everything – city flowers are meticulously taken care of and yet it feels like they just run free and wild. This place is the city town hall and think it has so much charm.
It was one of those days when we could just walk around without any particular route in mind – enjoying the warmth of the autumn colours around, quietness of the town and the fact that we didn’t have any plans apart from visiting a couple of champagne houses. And here it was on our way – the infamous Moët & Chandon.
Moët et Chandon began as Moët et Cie (Moët & Co.), established by Épernay wine trader Claude Moët in 1743, and began shipping his wine from Champagne to Paris. The reign of King Louis XV coincided with increased demand for sparkling wine. Soon after its foundation, and after son Claude-Louis joined Moët et Cie, the winery’s clientele included nobles and aristocrats.
In 1833 the company was renamed Moet et Chandon after Pierre-Gabriel Chandon, the director of maison, joined the company as a partner of Jean-Remy Moet, Claude Moet’s grandson. At that time the famous sparkling was distributed to the majority of Royal Courts in Europe, growing its network from year to year.
Following the introduction of the concept of a vintage champagne in 1840, Moët marketed its first vintage in 1842. Their best-selling brand, Brut Imperial, was introduced in the 1860s.
23 kilometers of caves that belong to Moet et Chandon run under the Avenue de Champagne. We took a guided tour around the cellars and it was fascinating to learn how bubbly is produced. It was super dark in there so please forgive me for these slightly shaky images. Photographers will understand if I say these were taken at 1/8th handheld.
All Champagne wines must spend at least 15 months in the bottle before release, of which 12 months maturation on lees is required for non-vintage cuvees. The minimum for vintage cuvees is three years. In practice, most Champagne wines are cellared for much longer: 2-3 years for non-vintage wines and 4-10 years for vintage Champagne.
To me champagne is always a synonym of celebration and no surprise that the whole day after the tasting turned out to be one big festivity!
When we came out of the caves the weather has changed completely and the sun was out!
The sun was slowly setting and we continued our way from the city to the vineyards to enjoy the sunset.
After that amazing day full of new discoveries it was a pleasure to hurry to the dinner in a little Chambre D’hote where we were staying for the night.
It was a pleasure to share the story of our weekend getaway with you. In future I will post more of such stories, especially a few longs weekends this and next year are already planned and locations are mind blowing!
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